Time for Washington to Get Back to Work
by Larry Penner
Sep 14, 2016 | 10057 views | 0 0 comments | 437 437 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Blame both President Barack Obama and Congress for the continued gridlock in Washington.

The president spends more time playing golf and attending Democratic Party fundraisers, and Congress is no better having just returned from a six-week recess.

Both the president and Congress need to work together if we are ever going to put our fiscal house in order. We need to return to the time when Congress held budget hearings for each department during the summer. A real balanced budget agency by agency was adopted during an open process.

Members of Congress, federal employees, the public, watchdog groups and media were afforded sufficient time to understand the full contents prior to adoption. Full federal budgets were adopted on time prior to the start of any new Federal Fiscal year on October 1.

Washington has to stop spending money we do not have. President Obama and Congress should freeze overall spending by adopting 2008 spending levels for all federal agencies.

The 2008 budget was prior to the one-time stimulus, auto industry bailouts, cash for clunkers, Obama health care expenditures and $8 trillion in additional national debt.

Now everything needs to be on the table, including the infamous “third rails” of American politics: Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and military spending.

Any future extension of the debt ceiling an issue that will be front and center before the end of 2016 and conveniently after the Congressional elections, should be matched by corresponding real cuts in spending today, not tomorrow.

It is time to return to “pay as you go” budgeting, means testing for all government assistance, and sunset provisions for agencies and programs that have completed their missions.

End pork-barrel member item spending, abolish corporate welfare subsides, and close down obsolete military bases abroad and at home, to name a few.

Have the IRS accelerate the collection of several hundred billion in uncollected back taxes owed by deadbeat individuals and corporations, along with suspending billions in future tax refunds to those who continue failing to pay long overdue taxes or student loans.

Everyone needs to do their fair share in bringing the budget deficit under control. Both Democrats and Republicans need to put everything on the table. It is time for government to destroy its own credit cards.

It is ironic that decades after winning the Cold War, it may be mismanagement of our economy that results in a decline of our standard of living.

The White House and Congress should be held accountable for their actions, or in this case inactions. The President, members of Congress, and their respective employees should be docked one full day’s pay for each day the 2017 budget is not adopted on time.

They need to perform this most basic requirement of their jobs. If your local Congress member fails to do their job, consider firing them on election day. Send someone else to Washington who will do what needs to be done.

Larry Penner is a resident of Great Neck.

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